- Published: 30 April 2018 30 April 2018
With so much ICO hype and hyperbole out there, it is refreshing to come across new business ideas that have truly disruptive potential. With the Paris Climate Change Agreement in place to reduce emissions, consumers are now starting demand clean and renewable energy solutions. One of the keys issues in a sector dominated by big corporations is trust; how exactly do I know that my supplier is giving me the green energy they claim?
Irene Energy aims to remove the industry fog by putting all of the relevant interactions between producer and consumer on the public Stellar blockchain, with an easy to use interface, removing any doubt as to where your energy supply is coming from.
In this interview with Guillaume Marchand, founder of Irene Energy, we discuss his vision for improving how we produce and consume electricity, as well as why Irene switched from Ethereum to Stellar as their blockchain of choice.
What is Irene Energy and where do you think you fit into the future green energy landscape?
We seek to be a renewable electricity supplier. Compared to 99.9% of electricity suppliers, we let the consumer choose exactly which producing assets he buys his electricity from. Thanks to micro-payments that are based on Stellar, we introduce a direct link between the consumer and the producer, as in he/she pays the bill in real-time and knows exactly where that money goes.
That payment is recorded on the Stellar blockchain, which is a public, decentralised, immutable ledger. So the consumer doesn’t have to trust us when we say he paid for Green Energy, it is there, recorded on something that is public.
So who is the prime target for this service?
Well, two things. There is a core group of people who are already wanting this service. This core group can be individuals like you and me, but it can also be corporates. The likes of Google are already signing these kinds of agreements called Power Purchasing Agreements (PPA’s), whereby they buy the electricity directly from a specific source.
Other guys want to do this but they cannot do it because to Sogn a PPA you need a huge balance sheet, you need to commit for fifteen years and stuff like that. So the smaller guys who wanted to do this but cannot, we offer the exact same solution.
So this core group of people, whether they be individuals or corporates, already want this. But the other idea we have is that by giving this new tool for expressing your preferences, as a consumer, you create the demand as well.
Like if you look at the organic food industry, because now that you can choose what you eat, people like to start to choose what they eat. Although with organic food you tend to pay more because this is what you put into your body and into the body of your child. For us, you’ll not be ready to pay more, because the good thing is that we are cheaper!
Watch the full interview:
How does the business model work?
I think the best analogy is Airbnb. So we are the platform and the clients are both the producers and the consumers, and in the middle we charge a fee, a little bit like a current utility would do. Some utilities do the same and others have the production capacity in-house. That requires a lot of CapEx. That is not what we want to do. We want to be as lean as possible.